Fitness and Body Image: Cycling Away Cellulite
Cellulite. The word many fear and hate to see in the mirror. Everyone knows what cellulite is, and many women experience it encompassing their body image, especially after adolescence. Often starting in early adulthood, cellulite can occur in even active and thin people, but regardless of its host, the presence of cellulite can often inspire the most radical changes to diet, activity, and overall lifestyle in the hopes of getting rid of it.
But before we can radically change our lifestyles in order to rid ourselves of the detrimental cellulite, we must first understand what it really is, where it came from, and what methods will battle it most effectively.
What Exactly is Cellulite?
We all know cellulite when we see it, but what is it, exactly? Cellulite, the lumped collection of fat cells which creates the ever-feared dimpled appearance on the skin – primarily in the buttock, thigh, and abdomen areas – is really the herniation of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue. This herniation, or the protrusion of a cell through its cavity walls, shows itself topographically on the skin, creating what we know and see as the dimples and bumpiness of cellulite. But cellulite doesn’t just appear suddenly as we know it. It happens over a course of time, first starting in an undetectable form.
Grade 1 cellulite offers no visible symptoms, but when placed under a microscope, the cells show anatomical changes. The next stage, grade 2 cellulite, is comprised of the pastiness or pallor of the skin, which is a lower temperature and has lower elasticity. Grade 3 cellulite, or cellulite as we know it, is the visual kind, which has obvious visual cues in the overall roughness and bumpiness of the skin, along with pastiness and lower elasticity. Said to occur in 80-90% of post-adolescent females, cellulite is a critical issue in many women’s body image and overall confidence.
Where Does It Come From?
Several factors have been said to affect the likelihood of the development of cellulite. These factors include hormones, genetics, diet, lifestyle, and even clothing. Hormones that have been suggested to play a role in the formation of cellulite include estrogen, explaining the prominence of cellulite in women, as well as insulin, thyroid hormones, and prolactin. Genetics may play a role in the susceptibility to cellulite, and a high-stress lifestyle with an increased level of catecholamines has been associated with cellulite. Diet and exercise are also key components.
Cycling Away Cellulite and How It Works
Though you can’t change your genetics, you can change your lifestyle, your diet, and especially your work-out regime. Taking measures to decrease the stress levels in your life can increase your chances of minimizing your cellulite, especially when paired with a diet that includes fish oils and coloured fruit and vegetables and steers clear of junk food. And although it has been said that exercise won’t completely rid your body of its cellulite, it will certainly reduce its apparent existence and noticeability.
High-intensity exercises that get your heart pumping are the best for battling cellulite. Some cellulite-fighting workout regimes pair high-intensity cardio with weight-training, which helps to tone the muscles under your skin. Cycling is arguably the best to pair with weight-training, and can also be highly enjoyable.
Bike sprints, on either a bicycle or a stationary bike, will get your heart pumping and likely target the problematic cellulite areas on your body. Riding uphill at the highest speed possible for relatively short periods of time has been proven to help reduce cellulite. The best part about cycling, however, is that it can be a leisurely enjoyment while naturally targeting the specific areas that are prone to cellulite, like the legs and buttocks. Cycling also means getting to enjoy the outdoors; a 30 minute or hour long high-intenisty bike ride on a consistent basis will burn excessive calories, shed body fat, and eventually breakdown and reduce your cellulite.
So now, since we know what cellulite is, how it comes to be, and how we can battle it, we can expect that bicycling will be incorporated into our daily lives. And if it’s a summer day, you’ll only have another reason to ride your bike instead of driving. Get to cycling, while battling your cellulite, and manifest a whole new lifestyle – and eventually, a whole new appearance!